In April, the nine members of the Framingham Charter Commission adopted a work plan with seven goals, including these two relative to executive powers:
1) Propose to voters a strong, innovative and accountable executive, elected or appointed, able to advocate on our behalf with leaders in industry, government and society;
2) Ensure that whatever structure of government we propose to voters provides a strong voice for our students, parents and teachers, and include a mechanism that ensures that municipal leaders work cooperatively, collaboratively and in concert with the School Department.
After a comprehensive presentation by the UMass Collins Center of the two options for the municipal exercise of the executive function in Massachusetts with a Council – manager and mayor – and nearly two months of debate the Commission voted (fill in after tonight’s vote) that it propose to the voters of Framingham that its executive function be led by a mayor.
While both mayors and managers can help do important tasks in our complex $300 million municipal corporation, a number of people, including sitting managers, testified to the commission that mayors tend to get more access to state and federal decision makers.
The Commission believes an elected Mayor will be better able to coalesce the community around difficult issues and more effectively create and implement long range strategic plans. In addition, only mayors are directly accountable to the voters of a community.
The Commission’s proposal creates other important changes to our government structure to increase transparency and to share powers between various branches of the government. For example:
- It requires that all government decisions be posted on the town’s website,
- Gives the council a role in all mayoral appointments,
- Establishes that councilors or school committee members are NOT eligible for health insurance benefits,
- Creates a clear and orderly capital and operating budget process,
- Requires town leaders to develop and implement a long range strategic plan,
- Restructures our school committee with nine members with each member representing districts of two precincts just as counselors will.
Changing our form of government is in no way a reflection on the dedication and diligence of the many men and women who volunteer their time on our elected and appointed boards and commissions, nor the dedicated and committed staff that provide services to our residents; but, rather, a realistic reflection on the limitations of our current structure in managing a large, diverse community.
For more information follow us at: www.framinghamma.gov/chartercommission
Framingham Charter Commission